Frank Sinatra (or rather, his producer at Capitol) is often credited with having invented the concept album. I wonder if this credit should not go to Ted Heath with his 1953 Fats Waller album. No matter, the disc on hand is a most enjoyable coupling of Waller's music (including the slightly reworked "London Suite") and a collection of Heath hits from the early Fifties such as "Hot Toddy" and "Obsession" (and no vocals!). The take off on a Bavarian folk song dressed up as a boogie-woogie is mildly hilarious but in good taste. And this is what prevails throughout: good taste, with a high point in a beautifully arranged and executed "Clair de Lune" by Debussy and Waller's "Blue Turning Grey Over You". The sound is crisp and clear, certainly when one realizes that the recordings are over fifty years old. There may be better Heath albums available on Vocalion, but this is certainly a good choice if you want to know what the Heath band was all about in the early Fifties and why it has still such an appeal.
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